Luke Rockhold is confident that he has the style to dethrone UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Rockhold (16-5 MMA, 6-4 UFC), who hasn’t competed since his knockout loss to current light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz in July 2019, is hoping to make his octagon return in 2021.

The former middleweight champion is finally healthy and says he’s having a hard time getting a ranked opponent to fight him. With goals of becoming champ again, Rockhold likes how he matches up with Adesanya (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who’s coming off his first-career blemish to Blachowicz, where he was taken down multiple times in the fight.

“I know what Israel’s capable of. I’ve been studying Israel for a long time,” Rockhold said to ESPN. “I appreciate his style, but I think he’s beatable in so many ways. I don’t think many guys can fight him from the outside like I can. If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside, it’s a game that I can play and then if we go into the takedowns, I’ll do it a lot better than Jan did. I’ll tell you that.”

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He continued, “There’s nobody better than me on top. If I get on top of somebody, I don’t care who it is, it’s going to be a short night for anybody.”

Having lost three of his past four, Rockhold is aware that many people have already counted him out of the title picture. However, after taking some time off and healing numerous injuries, Rockhold is rejuvenated and ready to prove everyone wrong.

“I’ve always had doubt, I’ve always had haters, but they just get more and more,” Rockhold said. “The sport’s gotten more and more popular in recent memory and they’re due to their own opinion I guess. They’re entitled to their opinion, but it’s my job to re-write that opinion and show them who the f*ck I am so I’m working, and I’m coming back because I know what I’m capable of. I just got to focus and be the guy that I know I am. Relax and let it be and people will bite their lip very quickly.”

He continued, “The division is ripe for the taking and Israel is what motivates me right now and everybody else is in the way.”


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